Curated by Mohamed Elshahed
The 2016 Dubai Design Week Iconic City exhibition Cairo NOW! City Incomplete gathers for the first time under one roof Cairo’s current design landscape. The title takes its inspiration from the infamous visual impression of Cairo’s red brick housing stock in varying stages of completion. The aesthetics of incompletion permeate Cairo’s design culture in content and form. Incompleteness is a reflection of the city’s status quo: continuous expansion into the desert with partly realized satellite cities, speculative urbanism where buildings are never fully completed to avoid taxation, and the tendency to leave a bit of extra concrete sticking out of buildings' roofs in hopes of adding additional floors in the future. This visuality of incompletion is also a sign of unrealized potential, possibilities waiting to be materialized. The city's designers reflect on this condition in their creations.
Cairo NOW! spans fields of design ranging from graphic and typeface design to product and furniture design as well as architecture. The Egyptian capital is home to young designers who, despite the lack of a marketplace or an infrastructure supporting creative industries, turn the city’s trash into new products and revive fading traditions with a contemporary edge. Cairo’s designers today take the city as their muse and as the source of their creativity.
Mohamed Elshahed is a Cairo-based architect, independent researcher and writer. He is the Curator for the British Museum’s Modern Egypt Project. Elshahed teaches architectural history at the American University in Cairo. In 2014-15 he was an Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices post-doctoral fellow at the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien. He obtained his doctoral degree from the Middle East Studies Department at New York University. He is currently compiling a guide for Cairo's twentieth century architecture, to be published by the American University in Cairo Press. His forthcoming book Revolutionary Modernism? Architecture and the Politics of Transition in Egypt, 1936-1967, focuses on architecture and urban planning in Egypt during the period of political transition around the 1952 coup d'état. Mohamed has a Bachelor of Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Master in Architecture Studies from MIT. He is the founder and editor of Cairobserver.
The exhibition will be on display in Dubai Design District (d3) from October 24 - 29.
10 Tooba – Omnia Khalil & Yahia Shawkat • Ahmad Aiyad • Ahmad Hammoud • Ain Bicycles • Ain Design Studio – Abdallah Ragab • Ali Almasri • Amr Saad • Amro Thabit • Andeel • Block B Furniture – Ahmed Abuzaid • CLUSTER – Beth Stryker & Omar Nagati • Dead Walls – Amr Abotawila & Sondos Seif El-Din • Ehem – Dina Naguib • Eklego Design • NOSS Designs - Eman Sherif • Encode Studio • Fayoum Pottery School • Found Khatt – Noha Zayed & Basma Hamdy • Ganzeer • Ghada Waly • Hicham Rahma • Ibrahim Ahmed • Ibrahim Youssef • Islam Hassan • Kareem Gouda • Khotout West El Balad • Kief Type Foundry – Mohamed Gaber • Kiliim • Lina Alorabi • Madd – Ahmed Zaazaa • Maged El Sokkary • Medhat Benzoher • Menn Baladha – Salma Adel & Amira El Shawarby • Mohamed Nabil Labib • Mohanad Kojak • Nabi Abdelnabi & Ikon Chiba • Nevin Altmann • Nora Aly • Pheel • Rana Elnemr • Reform – Hend Riad & Mariam Hazem • S.A.D.A.F.A – Dina El Sheikh • Sal – Salsabeel Amin • Salma Shamel • Samaklaban – Ahmad Hammoud • Samir El Kordy • Shahira Fahmy • Sidewalk Salon: 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo – Manar Moursi & David Puig • Studio 39 – Mahy Mourad • Studio Meem – Manar Moursi • Studio Zafir – Nada Abdel Salam, Noha Zayed & Ahmed Kamel • Takween – Kareem Ibrahim • Tandem • The Mozza • The Nile Co. • Tombokka • Transport for Cairo • Ultra Design • Up-fuse – Yara Yassine & Rania Rafei • Valerie Arif • Wael Azzam • Yara Soliman • Yosra Gamal • Exhibition design by Adham Selim of OCVC - Office for Contemporary Visual Cultures.
Team: Mohamed Wahdan
Exhibition Architect: Adham Selim
Branding: Omar Al-Zo’bi
Publication Design: Ahmad Hammoud
Publication in collaboration with: Mada Masr